Not all members of the Nashville Community Oversight Board (COB) have been entirely truthful with the public they serve – or the police they’re entrusted to hold accountable. Over the weekend, The Tennessee Star uncovered information that a recently-resigned member of the COB, Ovid Timothy Hughes, may have misled officials about his voting status in order to be appointed. COB Executive Director Jill Fitcheard (pictured above) hasn’t responded to The Star about why he wasn’t vetted prior to his appointment.
The COB is tasked with investigating police misconduct allegations, as well as issuing reports and recommendations based on research of misconduct, public safety, and the administration of justice. Those responsibilities necessitate a series of requirements for membership. Individuals must be registered voters in Davidson County; residents of the county for at least one year; and be nominated by a community organization, a petition of at least 50 county residents, or at least one Metro City Council member. Members can’t be current law enforcement members or have been one in the last five years, elected officials, or the spouse of any of the former. Members must also agree to continuous trainings in areas such as civil rights, equity, criminal justice, policing practices, cultural diversity, sexual harassment awareness. However, it is unclear if members are vetted prior to their appointment.
When The Star investigated Hughes following his sudden, unexplained resignation, we discovered that Hughes isn’t a registered voter – as he had claimed and is required by state law – but is, in fact, a convicted felon. Hughes still hasn’t responded to The Star with comment.
However, following our coverage, Hughes posted a status update on Monday. He had last posted on February 20 prior to that status update.
” ‘The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.’ –Oscar Wilde,” wrote Hughes.
The Star attempted to contact Fitcheard multiple times with further questions regarding Hughes’ admission to the COB. We inquired about the vetting process for COB members and any actions undertaken to verify each member’s voter status. She didn’t respond by press time.
In her staff bio, Fitcheard stated that she served as a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C. (MPDC). She claimed to have worked in patrol, narcotics and special investigations, and special operations. Fitcheard didn’t confirm details of her employment with The Star by press time.
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